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Losing 7 of 8 brands, and making money

As the dust begins to settle on the Chrysler saga, I focus my attention on my GM store, where, as I noted earlier, I voluntarily resigned as a dealer.

I did this for two reasons:

• First, the market where our GM store is located I feel is no longer viable, and that concurs with GM's assessment.

• Finally, I knew that bankruptcy was imminent and I wasn't expecting a positive outcome.

With my resignation from the four GM brands we carry being filed and accepted before the June 1st filing date, I was fortunate enough to be included in the buy-back program of new inventory, parts and special tools. As expected, the wind-down process offer wasn't nearly as generous. However, fair is fair and it must be noted that, though not as good as an early termination, it would have been a much better deal than the one received from Chrysler after its bankruptcy filing.

Our former Chrysler location, without the three Chrysler brands, continues to be successful. Business hasn't been as strong at our GM store, now in its final week. It's a common concern I've heard expressed from many of my GM dealer colleagues. However, I'm still confident that GM will come out leaner and stronger from this bankruptcy and will regain some of their lost market share.

This leaves us with our Ford franchise store. Ford, too, borrowed billions to survive this bear market, though its loans came from the markets and not the federal government. Because of this they are seen as the heroic leaders.

Couple this with some really nice new product and quality that is equal to, if not better than, many other brands and you see the value of public perception vs. reality.

Interestingly enough, we've begun calling other Ford dealers to locate and purchase trucks to ensure that we don't run out. Don't get me wrong: Sales aren't where they use to be. But Ford definitely has a thriving and growing market share, which is some positive news for the franchised market.

All in all, I again reiterate that the manufacturers must continue to work collectively to define a program that will compensate the new car dealer.

I've dropped or lost seven out of eight franchises and I'm projecting a more profitable year without them. This shouldn't be the case.

However, when invoices, less dealer cash in many cases, are advertised to the public, how are we to make any money?

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